The Chrysler 300 has always looked like one of the toughest kids on the block, but as emissions regulations continue to tighten, the bluff-faced large sedan may lose its trademark style.
Speaking with CarAdvice at the recent 2014 Los Angeles auto show, Chrysler head of design, Ralph Gilles, said the current model is already quite efficient – but he didn’t deny there could be changes in the pipeline for the styling of the brand’s most iconic model.
“This [updated for 2015] car is suspiciously efficient, the frontal aero is quite low – it’s not as big as you’d think it is,” he said. “In the US it gets 31 miles per gallon thanks to its efficiency, so it’s actually pretty good.
“I know what you mean by the future, we can’t talk about that right now,” he said.
However, Gilles indicated the next-generation model – which is expected in 2018, according to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles open-book five-year plan – will retain its street cred, no matter how the car ends up looking.
“I’d rather challenge my team to figure it out than to give up,” he said of the drive to retain the blocky, bulky design of the current 300 sedan.
“In form or shape, the car’s always going to have its own aesthetic – I don’t think this car will ever try to emulate anybody else,” he said.
“Presence can come in many ways. The silhouette has to be unique. Whatever it is, wherever we end up, it has to be unique,” Gilles said, hinting that there are many designs on the table for the new-generation model.
Gilles commented on the fact the 300 has performed quite well in Australia, and he puts it down to the strength of cars like the Holden Commodore.
“That car [the 300] in particular was designed for Australia in right-hand drive. We don’t do a right-hand drive of the [Dodge] Charger or Challenger, for example,” he said.
“So from the get-go it was considered for that market. New Zealand as well. We do very little in Japan. Australia is the biggest international market for that car.
“They also love a lot of the same things Americans like. They’re very similar, with powertrains and all that,” he said. “What we’re doing now as we become more international, every time we start a project what we do is talk to all markets and make sure [we’ll have what they need].
“We did that Core model, a special Aussie-only model … that actually did quite well over there,” he said of the special edition Chrysler 300 SRT8 Core.
“So, we’re aware – and the business centre does a really good job of feeding us information. I can’t really expound on the future, unfortunately,” he said.
The new-look Chrysler 300 was unveiled at the 2014 Los Angeles auto show, and is expected to go on sale by mid 2015 locally.